Model physically associating gels deformed in shear over a wide range of reduced rates displayed evidence of strain localization. The non-linear stress responses and inhomogeneous velocity profiles observed during shear rheometry coupled with particle tracking velocimetry were associated with the occurrence of rate-dependent, banding and fracture-like responses in the gel. Scaling law analysis from traditional sliding friction studies suggests that at the molecular level, deformation is confined to a shear zone with thickness comparable to the gel’s mesh size, the smallest structurally relevant length scale in the gel.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Langmuir, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la204592r.

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